Moscow reported to have pulled some troops away from Ukraine

29 January 2022, 05:40 PM

Divisions that belong to Russia’s Western military district are returning to their bases after “concluding routine combat readiness tests” near Ukrainian border, Russian district commander Alexander Zhuravlyov told Russian news agency Interfax on Jan. 29.

Zhuravlyov said that forces under his command “met all of their objectives” and will continue training on proving grounds.

“We have a whole range of tasks ahead, including joint tactical exercises with air force and anti-air defenses,” he said.

According to him, engineering, communication and biochemical hazard brigades are returning to their bases, along with air force detachments that participated in the “exercises” next to Ukraine’s border.

Video of day

The district’s troops will fully restock and resupply.

These “routine” combat readiness tests of the Western and Southern military districts were announced on Jan. 25, according to Interfax, amidst rising tensions in Russia-NATO relations.

Since the end of Oct. 2021, Russia has been massing troops close to the Ukrainian borders. Russia has since deployed more than 130,000 troops and offensive weapons near the Ukrainian border and in temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories, according to the latest intelligence estimates from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

International media have speculated that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022, in an operation that could involve up to 200,000 Russian soldiers.

The Kremlin says the troop movements are an internal affair of Russia.

At the same time, Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine of planning “provocations,” and alleged that Kyiv plans to regain control of the occupied territories by military means. The Kremlin has failed to back up any of its allegations with evidence, however.

Some of those forces are deployed to Belarus, under the guise of joint Russia-Belarus military exercises. Russian troops have been noted far outside the announced exercise zone, however.

On Jan. 26 the United States and NATO delivered a written response to Moscow’s demands of “security guarantees”, where they reaffirmed their commitment to the “open door” policy for new NATO members, refusing to rule out Ukraine and Georgia joining the alliance at some point in the future.

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